Yes, it’s more than possibleMicrosoft has officially announced the sales target for the latest version of the Windows client, and, while extremely high, it is in no way beyond the company’s reach. Speaking at the CeBIT Global Conference, in Hanover, Germany on March 4, 2010, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner revealed that the software giant aimed to sell in excess of 300 million copies of Windows 7 by the end of 2010. And the fact of the matter is that, considering Windows 7’s success on the market so far, the 300-million mark is a realist goal. After all, Microsoft has a hit on its hands, and has already sold 90 million copies of Windows 7 in the first four months since the OS was released.
“When you think about Windows 7, the most successful operating system we’ve ever released in our history. It’s the highest-quality operating system we’ve ever released in our history,” Turner said. “This year they will sell 300-plus million PCs. That’s what the forecast is. You know what, Windows will be on 300 million of those PCs this year and that’s an incredible statement to that particular product and the opportunity that we have to continue to work with customers and end users and consumers, as well as refresh the desktops for enterprises.”
Windows 7 already climbed to approximately 9% of the operating system market, according to data from Net Applications, an Internet metrics company, a percentage on par with the 90 million licenses Microsoft says are already sold. Of course, as it is usually the case, the Redmond company doesn’t differentiate between the Windows 7 copies that were sold to actual customers, and those that were merely pushed into the channel.
Still, there is good news from Gartner for the software giant. The market analysis firm forecasts that PC shipments worldwide will grow an estimated 20% in 2010. Specifically, Gartner expects PC manufacturers to sell over 366.1 million units in 2010, a boost of 19.7% compared with the 305.8 million units shipped in 2009. The forecast also indicates that spending will jump to $245 billion this year, representing a 12.2% increase over 2009.
“The PC industry will be overwhelmingly driven by mobile PCs, thanks to strong home growth in both emerging and mature markets,” George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, explained. “Mini-notebooks are again forecast to boost mobile PC growth in 2010, but their contribution is expected to decline noticeably afterward, as they face growing competition from new ultra-low-voltage (ULV) ultraportables and next-generation tablets. Desk-based PC shipment growth will be minimal and limited to emerging markets.”
Gartner doesn’t mention Windows 7, but fact is that the vast majority of new PCs will ship with the operating system preinstalled, especially those from OEMs such as HP, Dell, Acer, etc. Gartner adjusted its 2010 worldwide PC-shipment forecast, after it had anticipated just a 13.3% growth at the end of 2009.
“We expect mobile PCs to drive 90 percent of PC growth over the next three years,” Shiffler added. “In 2009, mobile PCs accounted for 55 percent of all PC shipments; by 2012, we expect mobile PCs to account for nearly 70 percent of shipments.”